Tag Archives: parenting

nice or naughty hands

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image

Ollie not needing his highchair anymore.

Another blink and I’ll miss it moment. monster #1 seems to have shot up suddenly. He has recently been able not only unlock and lock the doors, but also remove the keys out of the key holes. Darn. So much for minimising the areas that he can go to. We ended up placing the keys on the space above our light switches. It makes entering the rooms A LOT more inconvenient now.

Thanks a lot, growth spurt. *grumbles*

Today was one of those days where Ollie was in a bit of a mood. He was pretty good most of the day, but when he got bored whilst I was in the midst of doing something, usually cooking, QT would bear the brunt of it. The worst being this evening when I was in the midst of cooking some veggies and QT got smacked on his tummy multiple times in a row. I exclaimed a “hey!” and Ollie looked at me before turning back and smacking QT again.

monster #2 burst into a wail. The kind that said he got a shock and it hurt. And my heart ached.

I have been reading up a fair bit about managing toddlers with a new sibling. The most common theme was that this is a phase and will pass; that we need to acknowledge the toddler’s feelings and involve him as much as possible. Ollie has been a great help when it comes to QT. He will very gladly grab the wipes, diapers, tissue and even a towel if I ask him too. He will throw the diaper away if I hand it to him.

When Ollie wakes up in the morning and sees QT, he goes over to give QT a couple of strokes on his head, smells him and may be give him a kiss. Sometimes when QT is fussing a little, Ollie would imitate me and tell QT, “oh-la oh-la, don’t cry. it’s okay.“. Or if QT is on the play gym, Ollie would lie next to him and swing the toys dangling above them.

Which is why the sudden smacking absolutely baffles me. And I cannot find it in the heart to yell at Ollie despite wanting to right the wrong. On one hand, I don’t want Ollie to feel that I am isolating him by yelling at him because of his brother (which may exacerbate his negative feelings about his brothe, if any). On the other hand, I feel so sorry for QT although I know he probably won’t remember any of this when he grows older. It is just that, at that moment, it pains to see QT getting smacked and in pain.

Recently, I read an article about the use of “nice hands”. Basically I would tell Ollie that he has nice hands and that nice hands do not hit. I struggled to find a word suitable for the opposite of nice hands, and decided on naughty hands. Each time I saw the signs that a smacking was imminent, I would fend of the blow and then asked Ollie if he had nice or naughty hands. He would always reply that he has nice hands, and I would reiterate that nice hands do not hit, and that QT was small so it would hurt if he got hit. Tonight, the message seemed to have finally stuck cos I asked if he had nice or naughty hands and he replied “nice hands and nice hands do not hit.

So far, all sets of grandparents and one great-grandma have witness QT getting smacked by Ollie, and they feel the pain for QT. To the extent that my maternal grandmother would hover around and fend off Ollie if he got too close to QT, worried that Ollie may decide to strike randomly. Yes, I do understand why they do it. But I am worried that Ollie might feel a little outcasted. I have seen the expression on his face post strike. A little wary, and a little guilty. May be I am in denial, but I do believe those strikes were not done out of malice or spite, nor jealousy. Most of the times, it seems to be done when he is bored or borderline cranky due to lack of sleep.

I guess it is hard for me to imagine that my little boy would not think twice about hitting someone so defenceless. He has lashed out at me before but those moments were mostly before his nap, if he has not had a nap or he is being forced to do something that he doesn’t want to do. There was a sorta decent reason for it. But this, is entirely new to me and I am trying hard to understand it. Hais..hopefully this phase will end soon!

heatwave

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the weather these couple of days have been atrocious.

And so is my temper as a result of lack of sleep and an annoying cough. Ollie has been trying his luck with the things that he does. Pushing ALOT of boundaries. Basically, testing my patience. Argh.

So cue a fair bit of yelling at him, which I rarely do, and I think he is a little taken aback at it. He does stop what he is doing, accede to my requests subsequently, albeit with a really sad face, the kind that will lead to crying if he is pushed a little more. I do feel bad almost immediately because I think that I am taking my frustrations out on him. This has happened for the past couple of days. And it is making me rethink the whole having another kid thing seriously. Like OMFG, if this is what it is already like with two, aren’t I looking to kill myself with three like this!?!

And then suddenly, yesterday, things just seemed to take a turn for the better. Ollie had a really long afternoon nap, and he woke up in a really good mood. We laid around in bed post nap, taking silly photos with Quentin between us; Ollie snuggled next to his brother. It was all really good. This was followed by him deciding that he will read his books quietly, with Quentin nearby lying on the play gym. I then decided that it might be safe to go cook dinner.

Now, Ollie has been prone to hitting his brother when he is in a grumpy mood. He would just smack QT on the head/face with no warning, so I had been a little wary of leaving the two of them alone for a while. But I can’t always be too wary, so I thought it should be fine this time round.

And fine, it was. QT was starting a fuss a little after about 5 minutes. What happened next made me change my mind about everything and anything else about kids. In a good way. Haha. Ollie rushed next to QT and tried to soothe him by stroking his head, and saying “it’s okay” repeatedly. In addition to that, Ollie remembered how I taught him to play with QT on the play gym, and he started rattling some of the toys hanging on the play gym to distract QT. And it seemed to work. It bought me another 10 minutes..after I caught the exchange on video as well. I know I know..typical parent videoing every moment on the phone.

What on earth just happened there?? Where was that grumpy/grouchy kid that I have been dealing with lately?? My heart melted at what I saw. Like what one article I read earlier this week stated, seeing the love between the kids will be what makes me want to have another kid. And what I saw at the moment and for the next 5 minutes was everything that made me want to have another kid. Like now. *cue Donald fainting somewhere*

It also reminded me that Ollie wasn’t being malicious in his actions. And that this phase one day shall pass. We were just having a couple of bad days and that Ollie is still my boy with lots of love to share. Looks like we’ll have to have the AC on each time the both of us are having our bad days, it might just help to ease off the heat!

discipline

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Step back. Take a deep breath. Count to ten.

more often than not, this has been my new mantra lately. Ollie has been a little trying, making me a little frustrated especially when I have to make a split second decision between a toddler acting out and a fussing newborn. Argh. But it is still manageable. Raising Ollie has taught me patience and tolerance. It takes a lot before I get really annoyed and frustrated.

But not so for Donald. It has gotten to the point where Donald says he is ready to use the cane on Ollie. Me? I am dead against it. When it comes to my kids, the cane is NOT an option.

We talked about how we were raised by the cane (seriously, it is such a prominent object in our childhood). I said that the cane was used till I was probably in lower secondary. Donald reckons his parents stopped using the cane when he was in primary school. His argument was that his parents used the cane, and look at how he turned out, which basically was fine lah. That would go against so many other stand that we have made re: what was okay in our parents’ generation which didn’t kill us (food issues..etc). My argument was it could go so wrong like in my case where I rebelled big time.

My stand was that the cane was an easy way out for us. Pain and fear would solve many so-called discipline issues. But it would not make me understand my child any better. He would respond to the cane, and not to me. Ollie is throwing tantrums because that is the way he is trying to communicate to us, and it is not a deliberate attempt. He is a really decent kid, and we don’t have a lot of trouble with him. I figured out that the recent spats of acting out was due to a break in routine / situational changes around him. He threw a major tantrum one night shortly after QT was discharged from the hospital. But ever since then, with us going back to a more manageable routine and settling back into normalcy, Ollie has been awesome. There are mini hiccups along the day, but we got over them really quickly, compared to the major ones. Then again, we realized that in Ollie’s world, major tantrums can be resolved with a shower, so it wasn’t that bad after all. haha.

We are slowly understanding Ollie a little more. I was telling Donald about an incident where my mom and I went out to the nearby hypermart with the boys. Ollie was handed a toy to play with whilst sitting in the cart but had been tossing it out of the cart. I then told Ollie that if he were to continue throwing the toy out, I was going to put it back on the shelf. He tossed it out one more time and I took it away. He was on the verge of tears as he asked for the toy. The conversation went like this:

Ollie: Ollie want to hold the duck.
Me: No, you keep throwing the toy out. Mummy said that if you throw it out again, I will take it away. Because throwing it means you don’t want it anymore.
Ollie: Ollie want to hold the duck.
Me: Are you going to throw the toy again?
Ollie: Yes
Me: then you cannot have it.

This went to & fro a couple more times before I realised that he wasn’t really answering my question of if he was going to throw the toy.

Me: Are you going to hold the duck?
Ollie: Ollie hold the duck, don’t throw.
Me: Okay, you can have it. Hold only.
Ollie: Hold only.

Being so upset at having the toy taken away from him, he wasn’t really hearing my question and thought I was asking if he wanted to hold the toy. I told Donald that we probably needed to ask him a couple of questions phrased different before we’ll get what his response actually means.

Disciplining a child is a tough job, trying to draw the line between what is acceptable of the behaviour and what is going through the toddler’s mind and how we as parents can manage that behaviour lovingly. And this, is only the beginning.

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